Sometimes I don’t feel like writing a full review for whatever reason, either because life is busy and I don’t have time, or because a book didn’t stir me enough. Sometimes, it’s because a book was so good that I just don’t have anything to say beyond that I loved it! Frequently, I’m just wayyy behind on reviews and am trying to catch up. For whatever reason, these are books that only have a few paragraphs of thoughts from me.
For a brief moment in time I was reviewing books in the same month I read them! Ah well, here are some more July reads (in August)….
Green Card by Elizabeth Adams – 4*
This was a reread for me. It’s vaguely a P&P modern adaptation, but honestly not really. What it really is a marriage of convenience story, and we all know how I feel about those. Even though this one has a few too many sexy times, it’s overall just a fun, happy tale with a likable pair of people at its core. I really enjoyed the slow build to the romance, although at times it felt like the main characters were a little too slow at recognizing what was happening. There is also an almost ridiculously long epilogue – this author has a habit of writing epilogues so long that I don’t understand why she doesn’t just write a sequel, which I would really enjoy.
Anyway, this was a fun one that I’ll probably reread again sometime.
Wedding Bands by Ev Bishop – 3*
I got the first two books in this series as a free Kindle series a while ago and finally decided to give them a try. I really enjoy stories about people who own/operate hospitality businesses (I’ve always dreamed of having my own little string of cabins in the woods somewhere), but this one wasn’t really about that. Jo is trying to hang on to her (now deceased) uncle’s house so she can turn it into a B&B. Her sister just wants to sell the place and get the money because she doesn’t think the B&B is going to be successful. The sister hires a lawyer, Callum, who turns out is the guy who ruined Jo’s life back when they were seniors in high school. This book was entirely based on the inability of Jo and Callum to communicate at all (literally ONE CONVERSATION fixes all their problems in the end). There’s also this weird thing where this other guy – who happens to be Callum’s best friend – is interested in Jo and keeps basically convincing Jo and Callum that the other one is trash-talking the other, but his motivation is never really made clear, and I kept also thinking – “You & Callum have been ‘best friends’ your whole lives… and you’re trying to screw up his second chance at the love of his life…?????” It also seems like he’s communicating/working with Callum’s ex-wife, but that’s also never made clear. Basically, this wasn’t the worst story I’ve ever read, but it wasn’t particularly well written. I only read the second one because I already owned it and thought I might as well see what happens to Jo’s sister, mostly because I was curious how the author could make the sister so freaking horrible in the first book and then turn her into the heroine in the second!
Hooked by Ev Bishop – 3*
The second book was slightly better than the first, but honestly not by much. The story was just SO slow… basically nothing happened the entire time except for people wandering around and not really having any conversations with one another. There’s also a character who is getting ready to have a baby, but the dad isn’t in the picture. I was extremely aggravated by how no one actually knew what had happened between the mom and the dad (multiple characters say things like “I don’t know what happened, but that’s their business” so it’s not even like they had conversations with her off page about the situation), yet everyone assumes that the dad is a jerk who doesn’t deserve to have any say about his own child. Towards the end there’s this throw away comment about how the dad is thinking about suing for partial custody and everyone is basically like “wow the nerve of that guy” … ummmm IT’S HIS CHILD?!?!?! I am OVER the anti-dad attitudes so hard. Even if this guy was upset with his girlfriend when he found out she was pregnant (which he may have been since they are both SEVENTEEN?!?!), that still doesn’t mean that he doesn’t deserve the right to ever see his own child??? Whatever. Anyway. It wasn’t even that big of a part of the story, it was just the part that annoyed me the most.
Overall, I found zero of these characters to be likable or interesting, which was a relief in some ways as it meant I didn’t have to bother finishing the series.
Daddy’s Little Girl by Mary Higgins Clark – 4*
I’m a little late the MHC party, as this is only the second or third book of hers that I’ve read, but they have been consistently engaging and twisty, and I like it. In this one, the story opens when 7-year-old Ellie’s sister (around 16 years old, can’t remember exactly) disappears one night and the next morning is discovered murdered. Ellie feels guilty because she knew about the “secret hangout” where her sister and her sister’s friends would sometimes go to smoke or make out, but didn’t tell her parents until the morning. Would they have discovered her sister before she died if Ellie had told them the night before?
The book then jumps forward in time. Ellie is in her late-20’s now and is an investigative reporter. The man who was convicted of murdering her sister – who was partially convicted because of child-Ellie’s testimony – is being released on parole. He has always claimed he was innocent, and now says he has testimony to prove it, and is going to have the case reopened. Ellie is still convinced of his guilt, and returns to her hometown to do her own research on her sister’s murder. The pacing is excellent here, with many of Ellie’s discoveries muddying the water concerning the accused man’s guilt rather than clearing it. As the reader, I was mostly convinced that he really was the murderer… and then something else would turn up.
While this isn’t particularly a stand-out thriller, it’s still a good one. Ellie is a likable character, and I also enjoyed the fact that this book was virtually devoid of romance. The ending is a little too tidy, but still good. My only real beef is how hard Ellie is on her dad… like yes, he made some mistakes, but you’re an adult now and maybe you should do some investigative reporting into your own biases against him, geezy. Still, I found it hard to put this one down and am excited to continue delving into the large backlog of Clark’s work.
Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters – 3.5*
Because I’m still reading romcoms when I can find them…
Par for the course, this was an enjoyable one-off but not an instant classic. Evie is incredibly likable, and she definitely carried the book. The concept here is entertaining, and Evie’s staged “meet cutes” in an attempt to prove that meet cutes are a thing were loads of fun (although sometimes slightly ridiculous). Evie’s group of friends were also entertaining, although the one who was getting married was honestly so self-obsessed that it was hard for me to understand why everyone else liked her. There were a few places where the pacing of this story was just off – like when they went to have the hen-do and it was a disaster, and when the rich guy is insisting that he’s in love with Evie. Evie’s boss is also such a jerk that it literally makes no sense that she’s working for him. And when, in the end, I found out why she was still working for him – it honestly made even less sense and kind of made me mad at the whole book.
So, in the end, not a bad read, and if you like romcoms this is a fun one to pick up, but the pacing was just too uneven for me to really love it.